With the final stages of the 2nd round of African World Cup qualifying upon up this weekend, here's a nice article from ESPN's Jon Carter about this weekend's games.
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African teams have raised the bar at the World Cup in recent tournaments and with Ghana impressing in Germany in 2006 and Senegal having made the quarter-finals in 2002, the expectations of the continent are high. Especially with the next showcase event set to take place in South Africa.
Yet, of all the regions in contention for 2010, the African section of qualifying regularly throws up surprises. Minnows Togo were the shock of 2006, despite failing to register a point once they arrived at the competition, and this year the likes of Rwanda, Benin and Burkino Faso all look well placed to progress to the next round of qualifying.
While it is exciting for such sides to be given the chance to test themselves in the world's biggest football tournament, their presence could come at the expense of some of the continent's more dominant forces.
Firstly, and most incredibly, is the situation of Ghana after their impressive run to the knockout stages in 2006. The Black Stars dispatched the highly fancied Czech Republic in Germany, but have looked a shadow of their former selves as they have struggled in their qualifying group.